Sunday, 4 October 2009

Doctor In The House - Pass or Fail

Doctor In The House – Pass or FailBy Graham Chapman & Barry Cryer
Based on the books by Richard Gordon
(Broadcast: ITV, 4 October 1969)
Producer: Humphrey Barclay
Director: Mark Stuart & Bill Turner
London Weekend Television

Enjoying another night out, Mike and his fellow students fun is brought to an abrupt halt when they realise they are all but two weeks away from their qualifying exams.

As both Mike and Duncan begin to panic, Dick is much more laid back, especially as he knows that their examiner - Professor Loftus will be away in New Zealand. However; Loftus sends someone else and informs the students he will be present, causing further panic and mayhem.

As examination day arrives both Duncan and Mike are not confident, and despite advice from fellow students, further complications arise in the examination room and the laboratory.

This final episode of the first series of Doctor in The House was handed back to the writing mantle of Graham Chapman, accompanied with the writing talents of Barry Cryer. All in all it's a good episode too, our central characters discarding the first year hi-jinx in favour of actually been serious about becoming Doctors. There are also some well written and intelligent lines here, particularly when it comes to pronouncing medical terms. However its evident in places that some of the cast appear to stumble on these!

There is a wonderful slapstick moment when the students are performing a practical part of their exam in the laboratory, it is here Robin Nedwell seems to be brought to the forefront as opposed to Barry Evans, and it's a wondeful scene too, just for his reactions.

Michael Harbour who played Smoothie in the first episode "Why Do you Want to Be a Doctor?" reappears here, this time with the name of Holdsworth. Michael Mckenzie also returns as Mickleton having previously played the second medic in "Getting the Bird".
Martin Shaw and Yutte Stensgaard make their final regular appearances as Huw and Helga here. Though both would appear in the All Star Christmas Special insert of Doctor In The House broadcast on Christmas Day 1969. Martin would later reappear as Huw in the 1971 Doctor at Large episode "Mother and father doing well".

Look out for an early TV appearance of Patrick Fyffe as Tonie Poitrine, the club drag artiste at the beginning of the episode. Patrick would later reach greater popularity as Dame Hylda Brackett, one half of the musical comedy double act Hinge and Brackett.

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